Statement from Steven Quinn, Director of Children’s Services
Following the statement by the First Minister today, we are currently asking all S4-S6 pupils not to attend school. The health and wellbeing of our communities, our pupils and our staff is our priority.
I understand the concern this will be causing our pupils and their parents and carers at this time.
I want to reassure you that we are doing everything possible to support our young people in ensuring that they gain the grades in their exams that they have worked so hard for. Your child’s school will be in touch over the next few days to offer greater clarity on the arrangements that will be put in place to best support them.
Thank you for your patience and continued support. We will work together to ensure our young people are not disadvantaged.
The most recent advice issued by the Scottish Government is that schools and council-run nurseries should close other than for specified groups. These groups are as follows:
– children whose parents have been designated as essential workers
– the children and young people deemed most vulnerable or in need of support. The parents or carers of these individuals will be contacted directly by their school or nursery.
Pupils in S4-S6 should not attend school. Any pupils that need to complete coursework will be contacted by their school.
We are following Scottish Government directives and trying to strike a balance between respecting the health advice designed to stop the spread of the virus, while still supporting those most in need, allowing the frontline staff providing lifeline services to do so, and allowing older pupils the best possible chance of getting the qualifications they hoped for.
The following locations will be open to provide childcare for the children of essential workers who we can accommodate:
- West Primary School in Paisley (primary only)
- West Johnstone shared campus (primary and nursery)
- St James’ Primary campus in Renfrew (primary and Moorpark nursery)
- Hugh Smiley Early Learning and Childcare Centre in Paisley (nursery only)
- Riverbrae School in Linwood (for ASN children)
School and nursery staff will be in on Monday 23 March and pupils will be able to attend from Tuesday 24 March. Schools and nurseries will be open each week from 9am until 3pm Monday to Friday for the time being. We are looking at the possibility of having them open until later in the day but cannot offer that at this stage. All children attending schools and nurseries from next week will receive a free school meal.
Following the latest guidance from the Scottish Government, pupils in S4-S6 should not attend school.
We plan to open secondary schools to provide childcare for eligible pupils in secondary school and older primary school pupils. We are currently working through these plans and we will confirm which schools we will be open as soon as we are able.
Families who applied by 9am on Saturday morning are being contacted on Sunday 22 March to let them know if we can provide a childcare place or if we can’t at this time. The good news is we have been able to accommodate more than 1,300 children. For those who we could not accommodate we are sorry we can’t do more to help during what we know is a challenging time for working parents. We know some parents will be disappointed but we have to prioritise to those who need it most.
Our capacity to offer childcare to the families of key workers is limited by the number of available staff and by the need to ensure a safe level of social distancing for pupils. Demand for this service has far exceeded the capacity available, thus we have had to prioritise within the essential criteria, in line with government advice.
There are some families who we hope to be able to offer a place to later in the week but we cannot guarantee this. Those families have been contacted to make them aware and we will be in touch on Tuesday to confirm. Our staff are doing all we can to put this service in place at short notice and react to extremely fast-moving and unprecedented circumstances. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
So far we have only been able to consider applications received by 9am on Saturday. If you applied after that point we will be in touch on Tuesday to let you know if we can accommodate. If you believe you meet the criteria and haven’t applied you can still do so via this link.
Please be aware we are now at capacity so we won’t be able to accommodate at this time. If more places can be made available we would consider your application then.
Can you appeal if you don’t get a childcare place?
We have accommodated as many people as we can. If you believe your application was wrongly rejected, email email@example.com and we will consider whether you could be accommodated if more capacity becomes available.
What about pupil transport?
We are afraid we cannot offer school transport to the schools and nurseries that are open, given these arrangements are being put in place at such short notice. Parents who have a place at a school or nursery will need to make their own transport arrangements for the time being.
Parents will be kept informed through their school and your child’s school will advise you on how they will keep in touch with you in due course. If you have a question that hasn’t been answered in this email, visit our FAQs on our school information webpage.
For the latest updates and information from us, follow our Twitter account @RenCouncil and visit our website.
For the latest health advice, visit the NHS inform website.
Our staff can visit our staff information section of website to find out the latest information and advice.